Friends Banner

By Don Nelson, President of the Board

Greetings! Our outgoing Friends President, Tom Hartz, has graciously allowed me to take over the column this month to introduce myself.

I am Don Nelson. Some of you may know me through my efforts on the Photo Society, or through my work to support children’s Youth (Summer) Camp program. Others may have met me on the trail. For those of you that I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, please allow me to introduce myself. I hope to meet many of you at the Friends annual meeting, and at the 25th anniversary celebration of the refuge.

Over the past year, I have been serving as the President Elect of the Friends. Next month I will follow in the footsteps of Tom Hartz, Keith Mays, and long-serving Cheryl Hart as the Friends of Tualatin River NWR President. Tom will move into the role of Past President, and Keith moves from Past President to join Cheryl in the role of president emeritus. A new President Elect will be elected by the board in October to begin training for next year.

I have been on the board for the past three years and have the primary responsibility for the Photo Society. I have served on the Photo Society planning group for many years, and participated in putting on the two Focus on Photography weekend programs some years ago. Being involved with the Friends so many years has given me the privilege of working with many outstanding people.

I am an engineer by training and Manager/Principal Engineer by profession (but I almost decided to be an ornithologist after taking a year of that at university). I retired last year after 40 years in the semiconductor industry – Intel, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and Hewlett Packard. My specialty was defining how engineers create semiconductors in a future silicon process and defining the design aspects of silicon processes (Yes, its complicated. But now that I am retired I can forget that stuff and spend more time doing fun things including down at the refuge). John Marsh and Berk Moss recruited me to be on the board four years ago (having served part of a year provisionally until voted in at the next annual meeting). I have been involved with the photography portion of the Youth Summer camp for several years – what an outstanding program the environmental education group has put together for the kids to be able to experience the refuge and learn about the flora and fauna. Our kids are our future – we need more youth involved with the Friends.

September is not only back-to-school for the kids in the area, but it’s also the Annual meeting of the Friends to be held on September 30th. Why not join us to hear about all the new developments in the restoration of Chicken Creek? And then there is the 25th anniversary of the Refuge on Oct 14th – another chance to not only hear about the restoration effort on Chicken Creek, but also (I am told) that the seasonal trail will be open for just that day with a chance to walk the actual path of the future (and former) Chicken Creek. (Remember that the seasonal trails are closed after September 30th and only the year-round graveled walking path out to the Wetlands Overlook remains open). Hope to see you at one of these events.

Through my work on the Board and the Photo Society, I have had a chance to get to know many of the refuge personnel. The new (this past winter) refuge project manager, Larry Klimek, is filling big shoes with the promotion of Erin into a regional role. Larry joins all of the other excellent refuge staff that most of you should know already. I am impressed that Larry is engaged in discussions with me on the possibity of moving the photo blind to a new location that would be better suited for photography (this is a project near and dear to many of the photographers in the refuge Photo Society. It really needs to look North to take advantage of the light in winter months). Please avail yourself of the opportunity of the 25th Anniversary celebration on October 14th to meet and greet our refuge staff as well as other Friends members. They’re all great people that put the Refuge first.

And, we are fortunate to have so many wonderful Friends members and volunteers to support our refuge and our community. Without you, the refuge would not exist and our many programs would not be possible. If you are interested in serving on a committee or joining the Friends Board, please let us know. Email: President@friendsoftualatinrefuge.org. Your contributions on committees or the Board can make a significant difference to the Friends, and to the refuge.


Tualatin River NWR 25th Anniversary


Book Recommendations

We’ve been getting many books into the store – some old favorites (and some classics like Silent Spring) and some great new titles.  And, we’re restocked on some excellent field guides for all sorts of creatures.  We even have a new book on frogs and toads that includes a CD of their calls.  Nature’s Overlook shop is a superb place to find gift books for those on your list, and to treat yourself to something special to read!

Laws Guide to Drawing Birds
This is a marvelous course in drawing, observation, and bird anatomy. John Laws is a teacher, naturalist, artist and educator. This this would be a perfect book for anyone interested in learning and/or improving drawing skills. $24.95.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
This  is a charming book for children, with a very appropriate seasonal message. Beautiful illustrations. $17.99.

The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry
This is one of my favorite finds….Imagine reading this with a young person in your life – nature plus the beauty of language, and gorgeous National Geographic photographs throughout. Be sure to read out loud the poem, “Counting-Out Rhyme” by Edna St. Vincent Millay – it has a magical sound, and it’s about trees. Poems for all ages (but theoretically aimed at children), and from humorous haiku to poignant themes for adults. $24.99.

Wear in the World

Friends members Cathy Shikatani and Willem Stoeller are enjoying visiting the sites of the southwest. Here is Cathy at Rim Rock in Colorado showing her Refuge support in her Bird Festival volunteer hat.

Friends staff member Seth Winkelhake climbed up on a straw dragon in Schleswig-Holstein Germany recently wearing his Friends cap. The small farming towns on the coast of the Baltic Sea build straw sculptures at the end of each summer. Visitors get to vote on their favorite sculpture.


Environmental Education

This fall great educational events continue at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Evening programs include Owl Prowls, Bats of the Night, and the Halloween themed Creatures of the Night. Check out the Friends of Tualatin Refuge events calendar for amazing education programs coming up this fall. www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org/maincal.


September was another successful month of volunteering for the restoration program! We hosted a total of 3 work parties; 2 for a local boy scout troop and 1 for George Fox’s annual serve day. We had around 55 people remove blackberry at our Henricksen unit over the course of 3 days. The invasive blackberry was removed from shrubs and smaller trees where it was beginning to affect the health of some plants. During the work parties volunteers got to catch glimpses of Flickers, Turkey Vultures, Beaver chews, garter snakes, and old sparrow nests. Many of the participants had never removed invasive plants before and worked extremely hard to make a dent in some very large thickets. Thank you as always for volunteering and help to support those who are volunteering! We will be hosting a special “3rd Saturday” work party for October rather than our usual 2nd Saturday party in order for everyone to take advantage of the special 25th anniversary activities on the 14th.



October Update

Join the Photo Society on Thursday, October 5, for the monthly meeting at 7 pm in the Riparian Room. Our speaker for the evening will be Seth Winklehake. Following Seth’s talk, we will share some images that Photo Society Members have made recently, including the recent trip to view the Eclipse in eastern Oregon. We’ll also review upcoming Photo Meetups – your opportunity to bring your camera to an interesting location off the refuge, and perhaps get some help from Photo Society member to explain the intricacies of your camera.

Seth Winklehake
Did you hear something in your backyard? Curious who has been visiting your compost pile? Wanting to get up close photos without disturbing wildlife? Placing a camera trap can give you a glimpse into the hidden world of wildlife who are often secretive.

Seth is an experienced wildlife tracker and has been using camera traps to capture photos of wildlife in urban areas of the Tualatin Valley, as well as, more rural areas of the coast range.

Seth will be speaking about types of trail cameras available, where and how to place them to get the best pictures, and a slideshow of his photos from Beaverton and Tualatin as well as farther afield.

More of Seth’s trail camera photos can been seen on the Friends of Tualatin River NWR Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Join Button
Donate button


President's Perch 

25th Anniversary

Nature's Overlook Store

Program Updates

Photo Society


Bats of the Night
Oct. 4, 6:30-8:30pm

Photo Society Monthly Meeting
Oct 5, 7:00pm

Owl Prowl
Oct. 10, 6:30-8:00pm

Puddle Stompers
Oct. 11, 1:00 -2:30pm

2nd Saturday Work Party
Oct. 14, 8:45 - noon

Puddle Stompers
Oct. 17, 10 - 11:30am

Owl Prowl
Oct. 17, 6:30-8:00pm

Friends Board Meeting
Oct. 24, 6:30pm

Creatures of the Night
Oct. 28, 5:00-9:00pm






About Fred Meyer Community Rewards

Support Us at Amazon Smile

NWRA Alerts

Sign up to receive alerts from the National Wildlife Refuge Association on legislation that impacts the National Wildlife Refuge System.


Please help us make this newsletter something you look forward to receiving by sharing ideas and suggestions to improve the content. This is a work in progress, and we look forward to hearing from you! Click here to email us.